15 Best Cool Guitar Straps: The Ultimate List

It’s normally the case that when you buy your first guitar, they throw in a basic nylon strap that will more or less adequately suspend a guitar from your shoulder. This is especially true if your first guitar is part of a beginner guitar kit. These basic straps work just fine, but it won’t be particularly comfortable nor will it stand up to any kind of abuse. In order to best express yourself and comfortably wear your guitar, upgrade your stage look with the best cool guitar straps.

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Much like picks and gig bags, straps aren't exactly the sexy part of guitar ownership. The focus will, of course, still be on the guitar itself and ideally on your playing upon it. Unlike either of those items, though, the strap will be seen constantly, so it's a good opportunity to express yourself a little.

What Should I Look for In a Guitar Strap?

Going out of your way to choose a strap means it'll be more comfortable, too. When you first start playing, you'll probably be sitting a lot and won't notice the difference a good strap can make. As you start practicing and performing with a band, it'll pretty quickly become apparent whether you can live with that cheap starter strap.

I play a very weird, very heavy guitar. It outweighs at least one early 2000s Les Paul I know, coming in at nearly ten pounds, in part thanks to the addition of a solid oak block that fills in a gap where a Floyd Rose-style bridge used to be. I've had my share of straps over the years, including extra wide ones, dirt cheap ones, and even padded ones.

I've found that some of the prettiest straps out there are some of the least comfortable and the opposite is true, too. As with anything, balancing the aesthetics with function will give you the best experience. If you have a light guitar and a strong back, the options are pretty much wide open.

Happily, a good strap doesn't need to be expensive. Like anything, the sky is pretty much the limit in terms of price, but there are lots of solid options out there along the cost spectrum. You want something that won't stretch very much over time, as well as something with durable ends.

It's especially important that the ends don't stretch, since that's where the abuse takes place. There are a few different options for materials and an endless font of designs, so there's really no reason you can't find something that suits you specifically.

Despite their ubiquity, you won't see the basic Planet Waves and Ernie Ball polypropylene straps on this list. They're cheap and cheerful, but not much of an upgrade from the cheap straps you might find in a beginner kit, so we've left them out. If that's all you need, godspeed. They've certainly proven their worth.

Should I Use Strap Locks?

While you're pondering strap options, I'll take this opportunity to strongly encourage you to get some strap locks. Whether you opt for the super-simple washer-type (adapted from the Grolsch beer bottle washers), the Ernie Ball Super Locks, or the Schaller Security strap locks, they provide relatively cheap insurance against drops.

With a ten pound guitar, you can bet I'm using the Schallers, but any of them will do the trick. Also, if you play acoustic, most of these will come with a length of string to tie it at the headstock. You can upgrade this with something like the Walker & Williams Leather Acoustic Guitar Strap Button for improved style and function.

A couple of options on this list have a locking mechanism built-in, so if you don't want to bother with more moving parts, opt for one of those.

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